WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans have created a path to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as the newest justice on the Supreme Court in just a month and in time to put on his robe as it begins its new term on Oct. 1 — despite Democrats’ demands for a delay.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has resisted pleas by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to put off the hearings until the National Archives processes and makes available about 600,000 records from Kavanaugh's years as a White House associate counsel under President George W. Bush.
Instead, Grassley has announced the committee will start down the confirmation path with weeklong Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings that begin the day after the Labor Day weekend.
On Tuesday, each of the 21 members of the Judiciary Committee — 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats — will be given 10 minutes each to make statements about the nominee. Kavanaugh may also make his opening statement after being introduced.
On Wednesday, Kavanaugh will face a long, grueling day responding to senators who each get 30 minutes for questions.
On Thursday, Kavanaugh returns for a second, and possibly, third round of questions from senators, who each will have 20 minutes per round.
And on Friday, a representative of the American Bar Association will present its rating, and then as many as two dozen experts and advocates will comment on Kavanaugh’s fitness to be on the Supreme Court.
The committee then will meet either the next week, or if Democrats ask for a weeklong delay as expected, the following week beginning Sept. 17. If the Republican majority on the committee approves the nomination — which also is expected — then it goes to the full Senate.
Democrats may seek a delay on the final confirmation vote until after the National Archives delivers the Kavanaugh documents, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he aims to confirm Kavanaugh before the Supreme Court convenes.
Under that scenario, on Sept. 24, McConnell would file a cloture motion to end floor debate on the nomination, setting up a cloture vote on Wednesday.
Then on either late Thursday or Friday, the Senate would hold a final confirmation vote that also would require only a simple majority.
If the Republican majority in the Senate all vote for Kavanaugh, he would report for duty across the street at the Supreme Court building on the first Monday of October, the traditional start for the court’s new term.